Signs that Your Pet Rabbit May Be Sick!
Just as kittens need the proper kitten care in order thrive and be happy a rabbit needs proper care as well. Just like dogs and cats, rabbits are companion animals that rely on their owners for food, shelter and of course, medical care. Rabbits are animals too and just like dogs and cats can contract diseases, get infections or become injured. When you get a pet rabbit one of the first things you should do is find a veterinarian that accepts rabbits as patients (because rabbits can live up to twelve years old you may also want to look into pet rabbit health insurance…yes, it does exist!). Though not as demanding or popular as dogs and cats, rabbits are pets too and should not be viewed as "disposable." They actually thrive when properly cared for and enjoy being members of the family!
Rabbit Reference Books!
It is always a good idea to have a "rabbit care" book on hand at home. I reference mine all the time! It is VERY helpful!
Emergency Rabbit Situations
If you notice that your pet rabbit is not feeling very hoppy (sorry, I couldn't resist), it is very important that you are pro-active and immediately try to determine what the problem may be. Just like any other animal, rabbits can require emergency medical care…if the situation warrants it. The first thing you should do if you notice that your rabbit is ill is to STAY CALM! Getting upset won't help the situation and by no means will it make your bunny better. Below are some signs that your rabbit is most likely ill and should see a veterinarian as soon as possible.
So your bunny is foaming at the mouth…what in the world is going on? Well, dental disease is the number one reason rabbits salivate excessively. In fact, excessive salivations means that…in simple terms…your rabbit has a tooth ache, is in pain, and needs medical attention as soon as possible. Other signs that your bunny needs to see the dentist include eating difficulty (which will cause your rabbit to lose weight quickly), and constant wet fur around the mouth and neck area. Poisoning will also cause excessive salivation (if you can rule poisoning out, then your rabbit most likely has dental disease).
My Bunny has the Runs!
If your pet rabbit's stool is profuse, watery, or bloody, make an appointment with the veterinarian as soon as possible as diarrhea can be very serious. Your bunny has something called "flora" in his gastrointestinal tract and when it is disrupted (usually by disease) diarrhea usually sets in. If you do not treat your pet rabbit's diarrhea, he can become dehydrated and possibly go into shock so again, it is very important that you take your bunny to the veterinarian. By the way, for those of you who are interested in the exact definition of flora, here it is: the aggregate of bacteria, fungi, and other microorganisms normally occurring on or in the bodies of humans and other animals: intestinal flora. Isn't learning fun!?
Blood in Bunny's Urine
When blood is visible in a human, dog or cat's urine, it is a sign of disease. Well, the rabbit is no exception! Possible reasons that your bunny's urine has blood in it may be bladder stones, uterine disease (females), bladder cancer and even trauma. If the blood in your rabbit's urine is accompanied by straining during urination, frequent urination, weakness and or lethargy (bunny depression) then you must take your rabbit and a sample of his urine to the veterinarian for diagnosis.
My Bunny is HOT!
Dogs, cats and yes, even rabbits are susceptible to heat stroke. It is a fact that rabbits tolerate the cold weather better than they do hot weather. One hot and humid day is all it takes for your bunny to go into heat distress. Signs of rabbit heat stroke include labored breathing, lethargy, and obviously, an elevated body temperature. If you believe that your rabbit has heat stroke then you should take him or her to the vet as soon as possible. Obviously, it is very important that you get your rabbit out of the heat as quickly as you can and wrap the ears in a cool, wet, towel (this will help to lower your bunny's temperature as you drive to the vet…hopefully, a friend of family member can drive with you and lend a paw). Heat stroke is a SERIOUS situation and should be treated immediately.
Whether you have a kitten, cat, dog or rabbit…all require the proper care in order to be happy and healthy. It is a fact that pet rabbits are becoming quite popular (they are number four…right behind cats, dogs and birds). If you are planning on adding a rabbit to your family it is very important that you do your bunny homework as many rabbits become victims of neglect because their owners truly didn't know how to care for them. Don't be a bunny neglecter; learn all there is to know about pet rabbits BEFORE bringing one into your home. ALL PETS deserve to be happy and healthy in their forever, loving homes!